Good Morning Britain ‘s Dr Amir Khan explained a “worrying” new Covid strain in the UK that has now been identified, and said some of the 1.7million people now told to shield could get financial support.

New research has meant 1.7million people have been told they should now shield for six months, based on factors such as weight, ethnicity, and social deprivation based on where you live.

Hosts Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard spoke to Dr Amir via video call, and Kate asked: “Can I just ask you about the social deprivation, because I don’t understand why if you’re at risk because of social factors, you’re likely to be on a contract that means you don’t get covered if you have to take sick leave, you feel forced to go into work.

“There is a whole situation – why is that helped by shielding, why does that make the causes of your problems, the social deprivation, any better?

“It seems to me it could potentially make it worse.”

Kate Garraway, Dr Amir Khan, Ben Shephard

Dr Amir said the new Covid strain was worrying but not necessarily a huge threat
(Image: ITV)

Dr Amir replied: “Yes that is true, people who are asked to shield are asked to stay at home, they will get that support needed that they won’t get otherwise.

“So they may get financial support, delivery support for food, that if they weren’t asked to shield, they would not get.”

Speaking about the new virus strain that has been identified, Dr Amir explained: “This new variant has been identified by the University of Edinburgh, they are calling it the B1525 variant and so far in the UK, 33 cases have been identified.

Kate Garraway, Dr Amir Khan, Ben Shephard

Dr Amir said people told to shield can get financial support
(Image: ITV)

“And it does share that worrying mutation with the South African variant, and that mutations means that the spike protein on the edge of the virus that helps get into human cells can be mutated to a degree where it can escape some of your immune cells, your attacking cells that destroys the virus.

“They are keeping an eye on it, they don’t know infectious it is, so it may not be a problem in terms of spreading, but they are going to do door to door tests in areas where it has been identified so it can be contained.

“But it’s too early to decide if it is going to be a big problem for us.”

* Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV at 6am

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